Opinion: What rights need to be protected more – minority extremists or the innocent majority?

by Favour Afolabi


The things Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev, Michael Adebolajo, Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale; the 9/11 and 7/7 bombers all have in common are:

1. The CIA/FBI/MI5/MI6 as the case maybe had some “intelligence” on some of them at one time or the other but didn’t act on such because they were deemed not be dangerous enough.

2. They were all largely found to be active on “Islamic Radicalism websites” like “Inspire” and others where they found inspiration on how to create and detonate bombs; bought into hate campaigns against other humans that were outside the strict definition of “non-jihadists” which of course included Moslems that don’t reason like them.

3. Some of them had been vocal members of Islamist fundamentalist groups/mosques with attachments to very divisive clerics in the US/UK/and elsewhere yet the authorities didn’t act against them because of this “now self-destructive logic of the protection of individual rights and freedoms.”

4. The parents, relatives, friends of some of these individuals and more importantly – fellow Moslems were at one or the other time aware of the excessive tendencies of these folks yet chose not to report such to the authorities continuing to live in denial until these guys wrecked maximum havoc on their respective communities.

Well, this would be a good time for the world to decide what matters more – “Individual Rights” versus “Rights and Security of the larger populace” – I am still in shock as to why WEBSITES that preach hate as the ones I have referenced do not have a coalition of Internet management companies and security agencies BLACKLISTING AND SHUTTING THEM DOWN; and I am still surprised as to how such groups as the ones discussed here get to have POLICE PERMITS to march on streets to expound their beliefs and possibly recruit more followers as these groups get to blackmail politicians about “being anti-Islam “or not “respecting the rights of all people” – this is the problem the world finds itself today – that of having to battle between “what should not be allowed or encouraged when it comes to practicing individual faith, belief systems and religion” versus “Politicians, Rights Activists and Lawyers seeking votes, attention and relevance within the polity.”

Now – we would always continue to have this debate – people would always take sides for very “funny reasons” – those Moslems who believe they are not Islamic Fundamentalists would always say “they don’t represent us – Islam is a religion of peace” – some people from other faiths, free thinkers and atheists would always be divided into saying “they are evil” or “they don’t represent all Moslems” but very importantly – Politicians and people in governments because they are constantly in election mood would try to first be neutral around these discussions whenever such bites the conscience of the polity again as has just happened again; then they would begin to tend towards “protecting the rights of all men irrespective” to “giving more rights to these extremists to express themselves in the public space” rather than “work towards curtailing the activities of these groups so that the larger society can have peace!”

Then of course – you’ll have the Lawyers, Rights Activists, Opinion writers, shapers of public opinion who would follow suit – they too would begin to repeat the same rhetoric like “All men are equal before God” and “there should be no racial profiling within a civilized society” and of course they would summon the ghost o f Martin Luther King to remind the world of “how quickly we can allow ourselves slip back into the past of being against a race or a people” – well you should note one thing – as all these intellectual masturbation goes on, you’ll hardly find any of these vocal folks speaking up against Islamic Extremism while at the same time encouraging and insisting that peaceful Moslems to join them in denouncing the activities of these reckless zealots!

Rather you’ll have them find their voices when these folks are targeted by the military in reprisal attacks on their bases in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan; kept in long incarceration in Guantanamo Bay; suffer mass arrest and [naturally torture to extract intelligence from them] in some parts of Northern Nigeria  yet, once another one of these attacks occur, these same band of people would quickly become the first to blame the same governments [that they give such a hard time in making the right policies and instituting the needed laws to frustrate the activities of these extremists]– they would be the first to appear in the media – on all platforms, to blame these governments “for not living up to their responsibility of protecting the people” – watch it – still not denouncing the activities of these extremists for it is now so obvious that these folks are only concerned with the “sounds of their own voices” and “the political endorsements they seek and give” and “the relevance they crave so as to be able to receive financial support from aid groups that support rights movements as the ones they lead.”

So the question we, the people of the world must ask ourselves is – “What rights deserve to be protected more – that of a minority that is even against others that practice Islam or that of the majority that includes Moslems as well?”

Author: Favour B. Afolabi is President at Viva Real Estates Company; he is a consultant to several infrastructural development projects in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt; his vision for Nigeria in every sector is to have the best experiences around the world replicated and improved upon in Nigeria to the point that the Nation regains its rightful place as the leading Nation from the black continent in competing with other economic superpowers around the world. His articles can be viewed at www.facebook.com/favourafolabi/notes and can he be reached via email- [email protected]


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